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Selling a House With Problem Neighbours

Property Saviour » Problematic Properties » Selling a House With Problem Neighbours

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for neighbours to not get along. When you are selling your home, it is important to disclose any previous disputes you had with neighbours, even if they were minor or related to anti-social behaviour.

This doesn’t mean your sale is doomed, nor will it reduce the market value of your home.

Here, we will explain what you need to tell potential buyers about your neighbours and give you some useful tips on how to sell your property in spite of bad relations with your neighbours.

Table of Contents

What Do I Need to Disclose About My Neighbours When Selling?

  • When selling your property, it’s important to disclose any written complaints you’ve sent to your neighbours, or complaints made to the local council or other authority. It’s rare, but it has happened that some sellers have been taken to court for not disclosing issues they’ve had with neighbours to new buyers – an expensive legal process that nobody wants to go through.
  • It’s especially important to disclose any issues you’ve had with neighbours that could affect the new homeowners, such as ongoing neighbour disputes, boundary disputes or disagreements over who owns/is responsible for a hedge. 
  • No matter what, it’s important to be ethical and disclose any information that legally should be disclosed in a seller’s property information form. Speak to a professional like your estate agent, solicitor or local Citizen’s Advice for personalised advice regarding your specific circumstances. 

Legal Standpoint

Theoretically, it’s the responsibility of a prospective buyer to do their due diligence when it comes to researching a neighbourhood or community they’re looking to move into.

After all, what one person may consider to be an issue with neighbours may be considered carefree fun by another, so it’s often subjective.

Nevertheless, legal action may be taken if the buyer is unaware of any neighbour disputes or problems and the seller fails to disclose them. If problems arise later and the buyer had no prior warning, it could lead to legal action.

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When selling your property, it's important to disclose any written complaints you've sent to your neighbours, or complaints made to the local council or other authority.

General Guidelines

If you’re selling a house and a prospective buyer asks about any issues you may have had with your neighbours, it’s best to focus on matters that may affect the buyer’s relationship with them if they go ahead with the purchase.

These could include boundary line disputes, disagreements over house maintenance, or arguments over the height of a hedge.

Ethical And Moral Guidelines

In general, it is not necessary to provide a thorough account of any conflicts you have had with a neighbor if the issues do not relate to anything material about the house or property. However, ethically, it might be a different matter.

For instance, if your neighbor often gets loud when they come back from the pub, or if they have verbally or physically abused you, you might think it morally responsible to disclose this information to any prospective buyers.

After all, wouldn’t you want to know this if you were buying a house? Chances are, the potential buyer has already done their research on the local community.

Tips for Selling a House With Bad Neighbours

1. Be Honest

To avoid any legal trouble, it’s always the best practice to be completely honest about any issues with nuisance neighbours.

This includes consistently loud music and dumping rubbish.

2. Stick To The Facts

When talking to your estate agent about the issues, it’s important to stick to the facts and keep your reports as objective as possible. Focus on the more serious, written complaints rather than minor neighbour disputes that are subjective.

If you are uncertain about what to report, you can get advice from your estate agent or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

3. Find A Good Estate Agent

Even if you have bad neighbours, a good estate agent can sell your home. There is a buyer for every property in the UK property market, and the right estate agent will be able to find them.

Speak to your estate agent about the challenges and take their advice on disclosing information to any interested party.

4. Neighbourhood Disputes

If you’ve had the misfortune of getting tangled up in a disagreement with troublesome neighbours, this must be stated on the form your solicitor sends you, known as the Seller’s Property Information Form (SPIF).

The definition of a dispute is somewhat open to interpretation, but in general, if you’ve had to communicate with a neighbour in writing or submitted a complaint to the council or any other authority concerning them, then the dispute must be mentioned.

Obvious disputes which must be declared on the SPIF include boundary disputes (involving land or fences/hedges) or any issues to do with shared house maintenance.

How do I deal with difficult Neighbours UK
So if you think a neighbour's behaviour is problematic, it's best to seek advice from your solicitor and ask if it needs to be declared.

Not a Problem?

In some cases, it’s not necessary to mention issues that have occurred with a neighbour. For instance, if they had a habit of having loud parties but that’s now in the past, or the problem was resolved amicably.

Issues such as children, noise, and pets are also highly subjective, so a dog’s barking may drive you mad but may not even be noticed by someone who owns a dog.

When a solicitor requests details of any disputes or problem neighbours, things become more difficult. Any false information or omissions could lead to legal action by buyers.

So if you think a neighbour’s behaviour is problematic, it’s best to seek advice from your solicitor and ask if it needs to be declared.

Buyer Taking Legal Action

The Seller’s Property Information Form is a mandatory part of the contract between you and the buyer of your property. This means that the buyer is entitled to rely on the accuracy of the information in the form when they purchase a home.

If the sale is completed and a dispute with a neighbour arises afterwards, the buyer may be able to take legal action against you.

Solving disputes with Neighbours

If you’re determined to solve the issue, there are many options. Approaching the problem with a friendly face-to-face conversation about the issues affecting you can often bring about a peaceful resolution.

Your neighbours might not even be aware that they are causing you trouble. However, if the situation has got too serious for a polite chat, it’s best not to handle the anti-social behaviour yourself and instead seek help from the anti-social behaviour team at your local council or a solicitor.

When selling a property, you’ll be asked to fill out a Seller’s Property Information Form. This form requires you to specify any disputes you had or are having with neighbouring properties. Anything that you’ve written to a neighbour, or phone calls made to the council or police must be mentioned.

It’s always best to be honest if there is an issue. Being vague on any issues could get you into trouble under the Misrepresentation Act 1967, as it could be seen as fraudulent or negligent. This could leave you at the wrong end of a costly legal challenge.

Nobody wants to lose out on their property value due to bad neighbours, but at the same time, nobody wants to buy a home with a massive problem that was deliberately concealed. Therefore, honesty will be your best policy when it comes to selling your house.

Don't Suffer in Silence.

If you’re trying to sell a property with troublesome neighbours, Property Saviour is your go-to expert. 

We’ll agree to buy your property within 10 days, a discreet sale means nobody needs to know, sell and move on, and we’ll pay £1,500 towards your legal fees.

Start by getting in touch with us today.  We’ll make you an offer in 48 hours.

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